Notices for Users of the Albums

1. New Albums and some changes


The latest Albums on genera of South African plants added to the Operation Wildflower Site are the ones on Chrysocoma, Lasiosiphon and Freesia. This means that photos and stories of plants belonging to these genera already on the Site, together with some new ones, have been moved from the more general Albums called Shrubs and Bulbs respectively into their own new Albums under Genera. 


There is a genus Album in every case where enough material has been accumulated to warrant a stand-alone grouping of photos and stories. There are now more than 200 such genera Albums. The biggest ones (most photos) belong to the genera Crassula, Euphorbia, Pelargonium and Aloe. Keep watching, more will be added. If there is no genus Album yet on the plant you are looking for, check under Types, the grouping that the Site was started off with, accessible via the pictured items shown on the right. The Search Box may yield more, for plants and related material are also shown in Albums on Habitat, Regions and Parks and Gardens.


In order to access all items on a plant of interest, enter its botanical name in the Search Box. Entering other words or names will access what is contained in the Albums database. The latest Regions Album is the one on the Kouga and the latest Parks and Gardens Album is on the Mapungubwe National Park.


2. Want to talk about a plant or an Album item?


There is a new way of communicating with the Editor of this Site regarding any of the Album Items.
Comments, questions, corrections, information and suggestions can be put to the Editor by using the following email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Please ensure that the Album Item concerned is clearly identified. Type its exact title as well as the Album Name in the Subject Line of your email. Please also state your name.


Similarly, communication regarding the functioning or technical aspects of the Site can be directed to the Webmaster at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


3. Reduced Mobile Site for Cell Phone Users


Operation Wildflower now also offers a reduced Mobile Site for cell phone use that only presents the Albums contents. This is aimed at overcoming display difficulties on some of the mobile devices in use for quick reference.


It is best to use the normal or full Operation Wildflower Site on computers, iPads and devices with bigger screens, as well as those that present unimpaired display of full details and access to all material on offer.


Should viewing difficulties be experienced, click here to access the Mobile Site.


4. Subject Index


A Subject Index of a selection of topics touched on in Album Item text has been started, other than plant species. Access it via Information.


At this stage, the topic or Item heading should be entered in the Search Box for using this facility. Simplifying access for using this feature is currently receiving attention.


Check in the Search Box for yet more subjects not added to the Subject Index list yet.


Botanical name

Asclepias fruticosa

Other names

Milkweed; wild cotton; swan plant; melkbos (Afrikaans); tontelbos (Afrikaans)


Asclepiadaceae/ Apocynaceae


Small evergreen perennial shrub, usually around 1 m to 1,5 m in height; exudes a milky latex

Description of stem

Erect, straight, light green stem that tends to branch higher up only; turns grey to brown in mature specimens

Description of leaves

Simple, lanceolate to linear, alternate, glabrous, light green; margin entire, apex sharply pointed

Description of flowers

Axillary umbels of 5 to 10 creamy white flowers; lobed and reflexed corolla around laterally flattened corona lobes

Desciption of seed/fruit

Inflated green and later light brown, papery pod or follicle; short bristly hair cover the outer surface; dark seeds have silvery cotton wool-like attachments that facilitate wind distribution

Description of roots

Sometimes a taproot, but in hard ground a few main roots meander just below the surface of the ground, often further than the height of the plant



Propagation and cultivation

Grown from seed, although it tends to invade and is not often planted


Takes over neglected pieces of veld or cultivated fields


In traditional medicine taken as a snuff (ground dried leaves); as leaf infusions used orally for intestinal disorders or in children as an enema as a purgative; also used for headaches and tuberculosis

Ecological rarity

Very common

Pests and diseases



The highveld grassland has twelve species of Asclepias inhabitants; A. fruticosa is a troublesome weed in Australia, at least in Queensland


Grassland and disturbed ground; a road-side weed; different soil types

Distribution (SA provinces)

All SA provinces


South Africa; Lesotho; Swaziland; Zimbabwe; Namibia; Botswana


Info also from


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